by Stieg Larsson
After being shot in the head and left to die, Lisbeth Salander is in critical condition, yet somehow through pig-headed ingenuity Mikael Blomkvist manages to find her just in time. While Blomkvist deals with the ongoing criminal investigation of the web of illicit activities surrounding Salander, she spends months recuperating in a hospital. Blomkvist knows Salander is innocent and is determined to prove it, but that turns out to be more complicated than any of them ever imagined. If they can believe the information they’re finding, Blomkvist and the investigators who believe in Salander’s innocence have discovered a cover-up reaches the highest levels and most secret echelons of state government. Not only that, but the people behind the cover-up seem reckless to the point of carelessness in their efforts to keep their secrets hidden. More murders, disappearances, and strange coincidences occur on a daily basis, and could possibly all be connected if only there were evidence to prove it. Blomkvist needs Salander’s hacking skills to find information that will lead the team in the right direction and prove her innocence, but time is limited. The more mired Blomkvist becomes in the situation, the more risk he faces, personally and professionally, to prove her innocence.
“The Girl who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest” by Stieg Larsson is the third installment in the Millennium series (following the second book, The Girl who Played with Fire). In this book, Salander begins to show some healing from her vast history of trauma. Not only does she begin the grueling process of physical recovery after attempted murder, but she also begins to understand the importance of the people in her life. Salander is completely powerless to do anything about her situation and is forced to rely on others due to her physical helplessness and enforced isolation. Although she continues to fight tooth and nail to avoid asking for help, she learns to accept some of the help that is freely offered to her. She also benefits from new learning experiences that show her she can trust some people in positions of authority, which serve to undo some of her early learning to never talk to any medical or legal professionals. These lessons are not only painful, but they are not easy to learn. Many, many offers of help are extended before Salander finally begins to accept that other people are concerned about her wellbeing and are working to support her.
Have I mentioned yet that these books are absolutely enthralling? The third book in the series moves faster than the first two because it picks up exactly where the second book left off and does not go through extensive background before jumping ahead in the plot. This book has another ginormous cast of characters, which occasionally causes confusion (particularly as the characters are introduced), but just keep reading and eventually all the loose ends come together. Long, sometimes dense, and definitely worth the read.